A study conducted by the environmental NGO IPEN and Vietnam-based Center for Gender, Family and Environment in Development (CGFED), reveals the poor working conditions in Samsung’s Vietnamese smartphone production sites.

The study focuses on interviews with 45 workers at two factories in Vietnam, the majority of whom are women. Their testimony highlights the impacts of the working conditions and exposure to toxic chemicals on their neurological and reproductive health.

Workers report suffering from fatigue, fainting and dizziness, as well as bone/joint/leg pain from standing of 70 – 80 hours a week. Reports also highlight that workers are denied basic freedom in the Samsung facilities, such as being separated from family members. In addition, workers comment about the increased incidence of miscarriages among female workers, caused by overwork and exposure to certain chemicals in the workplace.

PEN suggest that workers are ill-informed about how working conditions link to health, while worker freedoms, safety and training are sacrificed to improve factory productivity and reduce costs – something Samsung is not will to admit or change. Even investigations by the Vietnamese government in Samsung’s factories have not yielded meaningful change, something that IPEN suggests is down to the politics in Vietnam and Samsung’s investment power.

As well as denying the claims made by IPEN and the CGFED, Samsung has also threatened legal action. The company has also continued to silence its workers by threatening them with dismissal and lawsuits if they speak out.

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